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EPA to Revise Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Claims many stakeholders see “destructive impacts to critical water bodies under 2020 rule"

File Photo
File Photo

On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army announced their intent to revise the definition of “waters of the United States,” claiming a broad array of stakeholders are seeing “destructive impacts to critical water bodies under the 2020 rule established under the Trump administration," reports Farm Progress.

Under the Obama administration in 2015, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a new water rule that gave EPA broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams.

The WOTUS rule was immediately challenged in court and subject to several preliminary injunctions. In 2019, the Trump administration repealed the 2015 rule and in June 2020, replaced it with the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule more widely supported by agricultural groups.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation is extremely disappointed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement of its intention to reverse the environmentally conscious Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which finally brought clarity and certainty to clean water efforts," says American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. "Farmers and ranchers care about clean water and preserving the land, and they support the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

“Administrator Regan recently recognized the flaws in the 2015 Waters of the U.S. Rule and pledged not to return to those overreaching regulations," he continues.

"We are deeply concerned that the EPA plans to reverse the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which puts the future of responsible protections at risk. We expected extensive outreach, but this announcement fails to recognize the concerns of farmers and ranchers."

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